Category Archive 'Texas'
28 Oct 2018

Personal Effects of Texas Ranger George Washington Arrington

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His revolver is a 3rd Model Merwin & Hurlbert Double Action .44, made between 1883 and 1887, with Ivory grips.

24 Oct 2018

Lieutenant Bourke’s 16th Century Spanish Armor

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The helmet.

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The gorget.

John Gregory Bourke (1846-1896) enlisted in the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry at the age of 16, and was awarded a Medal of Honor for “gallantry in action” at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee, in December 1862. He also fought at Chickamauga under George H. Thomas.

After the war, through Thomas, he received an appointment to West Point where he graduated in 1869, and was then assigned as a second lieutenant in the Third U.S. Cavalry. He served with his regiment at Fort Craig, New Mexico Territory, from September 29, 1869 to February 19, 1870.

Bourke was an enthusiastic student of Indian ethnology, on which subject he published a number of studies, and a copious diarist.

He compiled, from his diaries, a military memoir, On the Border with Crook, published in 1892, which is one of the key primary sources on the Indian Wars.

His quarters in New Mexico were simple and rough, he tells us, but they were decorated with a set of three hundred year old Spanish armor.

My assignment was to one of the rooms in the adobe house, an apartment some fourteen by nine feet in area, by seven and a half or eight in height. There was not enough furniture to occasion any anxiety in case of fire: nothing but a single cot, one rocking-chair — visitors, when they came, generally sat on the side of the cot — a trunk, a shelf of books, a small pine washstand, over which hung a mirror of greenish hue, sold to me by the post trader with the assurance that was French plate. I found afterward that the trader could not always be relied upon, but I’ll speak of him at another time. There were two window curtains, both of chintz; one concealed the dust and fly specks on the only window, and the other covered the row of pegs upon which hung sabre, forage cap, and uniform.
In that part of Arizona fires were needed only at intervals, and, as a consequence, the fireplaces were of insignificant dimensions, although they were placed, in the American fashion, on the side of the rooms, and not, as among the Mexicans, in the corners. There was one important article of furniture connected with fireplace and which I must make mention—the long iron poker with which, on occasion I was want to stir up the embers, and also to stir up the Mexican boy Esperidion, to whom, in the wilder freaks of my imagination, I was in the habit of alluding as my “valet.”

The quartermaster had recently received permission to expand “a reasonable amount” of paint upon the officers’ quarters, provided the same could be done by labor of the troops. …

It goes without saying that the work was never any too well done, and in the present case there seemed to be more paint scattered about my room than would have given it another coat. But the floor was of rammed earth and not to be spoiled, and the general effect was certainly in the line of improvement. Colonel Dubois, our commanding officer, at least thought so, and warmly congratulated me on the smug look of everything and added a very acceptable present of a picture—one of Prang’s framed chromos, a view of the Hudson at the mouth of the Esopus creek – which gave a luxurious finish to the whole business. Later on, after I had added an Apache bow and quiver, with its complement of arrows, one or two of the bright, cheery Navajo rugs, a row of bottles filled with select specimens of tarantulas, spiders, scorpions, rattlesnakes and others of the fauna of the country, and hung upon the walls a suit of armor which had belonged to some Spanish foot-soldier of the sixteenth century, there was a sybaritic suggestiveness which made all that has been related of the splendors of Solomon and Sardanapalus seem commonplace.

Of that suit of armor I should like to say a word: it was found by surgeon Steyer, of the army, enclosing the bones of a man, in the arid country between the waters of the Rio Grande and the Pecos, in the extreme southwest corner of the State of Texas, more than 20 years ago. Various conjectures were advanced and all sorts of theories advocated as to its exact age, some people thinking that it belonged originally to Coronado’s expedition, which entered New Mexico in 1541. My personal belief is that belong to the expedition of Don Antonio Espayo or that of Don Juan de Oñate, both of them came to New Mexico about the same date —1581-1592—and travelled down the Concho to its confluence with the Rio Grande, which would have been just on the line where the skeleton in armor was discovered. There is no authentic report to show that Coronado swung so far to the south; his line of operation took in the country farther to the north and east, and there are the best of reasons for believing that he was the first white man to utter the fertile valley of the Platte, not far from Plum Creek, Nebraska.

But, be that as it may, the suit of armor — breast and back plates, gorget, and helmet — nicely painted and varnished, and with every tiny brass button duly cleaned and polished with acid and ashes, added not a little to the looks of the den which without them would’ve been much more dismal.

For such of my readers may not be up on these matters, I may say that iron armor was abandoned very soon after the Conquest, as the Spaniards found heat of these dry regions too great to admit of their wearing anything so heavy; and they also found that like cotton batting “escaupiles” of the Aztec served every purposes as a protection against the arrows of the naked savages by whom they were now surrounded.

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Parts at least of Bourke’s Spanish armor have survived, and I found some discussion on the Internet in a discussion thread at Above Top Secret:

    The few records of the armor that exist came from U.S. cavalry officer and anthropologist Capt. John Gregory Bourke, who was given the gorget, helmet, and a breast- and backplate in 1870, from an army doctor who claimed to have found them “enclosing the bones of a man in the arid country between the waters of the Rio Grande and the Pecos.”

    Bourke took the armor with him from post to post throughout the West during his career, losing the breast and backplates to thieves in Arizona along the way.

    But before his death in 1896, Bourke gave the helmet and gorget to a judge’s wife in Nebraska, and by the early 20th century, it was in the possession of an Omaha attorney, in whose family it remained until it was donated to a museum in 1961, and then to the state historical society.

The assumption is the armor is Spanish, that would be the most likely scenario as it dates to the appropriate period.

    Historical records describe the equipment used by Spanish soldiers at that time, but the team found that it included little armor, the Spanish instead having used mostly padded leather or shirts of chain mail.

    “It just is not very much like armor known to have been used by colonial Spanish forces,” Bleed said of Bourke’s armor of iron scales.

    “The Spanish apparently had some (chain) mail, but the idea of taking a fabric and attaching little fish scales to it, this is not something they did.”

It’s too bad the breast plate and back were lost as they would shed more light on where this came from.

RTWT

09 Sep 2018

“Not Funny”

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The late Tommie Woodward.

Buzzfeed reports that, just because Tommie Woodward ignored warnings and jumped into the bayou at 2 A.M., winding up killed by an alligator, his grieving family feels he should not have been made into a Darwin Awards national joke.

On the night of July 2, 2015, Tommie Woodward was doing what Tommie did on Thursday nights — shooting pool, playing shuffleboard, drinking beer, having a good time at Burkart’s Marina, a beer and burger joint in Orange, Texas. Sometime around 2 a.m. he decided to go for a swim in the murky waters of Adams Bayou.

Michelle Wright, the bartender on duty, became concerned upon hearing Tommie’s plans. A few weeks earlier, the bar’s owner, Allen Burkart, spotted an exceptionally large alligator patrolling the bayou. He immediately erected a “No Swimming” sign, which was disregarded. The people of Orange frequently swam with the reptiles, and even nicknamed two of them Cheeto and Marshmallow. Wright pleaded with Tommie, but he was stubborn, never backed down from anyone or anything. He was going swimming. Wright returned to her bartending duties.

Tommie removed his shirt and billfold and, joined by his companion Victoria LeBlanc, tiptoed toward the water. At this point LeBlanc saw a big gator — maybe the same animal Burkart had encountered — emerge from beneath the dock. She alerted Tommie to its presence, who shouted back, “Fuck that gator!” and plunged into the bayou.

Tommie was near a small island across the swamp when the gator got his arm. When LeBlanc jumped into the water to save him, he yelled for her to return to land. She obliged, then frantically ran inside for help. After dialing 911, Wright grabbed a flashlight, killed the lights to reduce the glare, and scanned the water for him. After five minutes or so — she’s unsure — Wright found him facedown near the pier. The gator quickly pulled Tommie under again. He resurfaced about 20 yards downstream, before disappearing into the darkness.

Two hours later Tommie’s body was found with the left arm missing from the elbow down. His cause of death was drowning.

Tommie Woodward was the first person to die from an alligator attack in Texas since 1836. Shortly after the start of the Runaway Scrape, the mass evacuation of Texans fleeing Santa Anna’s army during the Texas Revolution, an alligator killed a man identified as Mr. King in a bayou near the present-day Harris County border. Mr. King was leading his horses across water when an alligator thumped him with its tail and dragged him under. Luckily for Mr. King — and his friends and family — his death occurred before the advent of television and social media.

News of Tommie Woodward’s death went viral with articles on, among other places, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, Fox News, and Gawker; the Associated Press picked up the story; it led the local TV news, of course. The local Beaumont Enterprise published a cautionary op-ed. The comment sections were busy and typically unsympathetic. The particulars — an animal attack, his famous last words, according to the police report — provided irresistible content.

Some outlets used an image from Tommie’s Facebook page of him chugging a Miller High Life while wearing a T-shirt that reads “Classy Motherfucker”; a news anchor for KFDM, the CBS affiliate in nearby Beaumont, breathlessly noted “the hundreds and thousands of pageviews and hundreds of comments” that the story generated on its website. Another circulated photo portrayed Tommie as the epitome of dudedom: grungy reddish-blonde chin strap beard, middle finger up, wearing a goofy cowboy hat, wraparound Guy Fieri shades, and a “This Guy Needs a Beer” shirt. On Facebook, strangers littered Tommie’s wall with comments like “lol rip dumbass” and “What. A. Dumb. Fuck.” A controversial hunt for the killer gator ensued, which only compounded the attention.

Tommie’s friends and family refuse to allow his final actions define the 28 years that preceded it. He loved Van Halen, Marilyn Monroe, and Ken Griffey Jr. He was good with his hands. He enjoyed assembling computers, building sandcastles with his nephew, fishing, swimming, camping, and grilling. He had an adoring big sister, a mom, a best friend, and an identical twin brother, Brian, all left to wrestle not just with grief over a freak tragedy, but also the aftermath of public humiliation. “I was severely pissed off at a lot of people that I’ve never met before,” his sister, Tabatha, says. “I was mad at everybody.”

RTWT

07 Sep 2018

Social Studies Bureaucrats Messing With Texas

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In today’s America, nincompoops and leftist demoniac fanatics have everywhere somehow managed to rise to the tippy-top of every establishment institution, even in Texas.

Texas Monthly reports that Texas Social Studies Educational Advisory Board has advocated removing the adjective “heroic” from a reference to the defenders of the Alamo.

The concept of defenders of the Alamo being heroic is engrained in the history of this state—and in the psyche of most Texans. The Alamo has been compared to the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which an outnumbered Greek army fended off a much larger Persian army for several days before being annihilated. But a committee streamlining the state’s history curriculum standards has removed the word “heroic” from a proposed revision of the curriculum because it is “a value-charged word.”

Last month, the advisory group, called the State Board of Education Social Studies TEKS Streamlining Work Groups and made up of educators and historians, voted to approve a final recommendation making a number of changes to the state’s history curriculum standards. The paragraph in the seventh-grade curriculum, in which Texas history is taught, currently reads as follows:

    explain the issues surrounding significant events of the Texas Revolution, including the Battle of Gonzales, William B. Travis’s letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” the siege of the Alamo and all the heroic defenders who gave their lives there, the Constitutional Convention of 1836, Fannin’s surrender at Goliad, and the Battle of San Jacinto.

But the committee is recommending to the state board that it delete several of these passages and add one so now the standards, if adopted, would read like this:

    explain the issues surrounding significant events of the Texas Revolution, including the Battle of Gonzales, the siege of the Alamo, the Constitutional Convention of 1836, Fannin’s surrender at Goliad, and the Battle of San Jacinto and Treaties of Velasco.

“‘Heroic’ is a value-charged word,” the group explains in recommending the elimination of the word. The group went on to explain that “all ‘defenders’ is too vague.” Similarly, the ten-person group recommends deleting the current standard that requires students be able to explain Travis letter from the Alamo. The streamline committee said the letter can be mentioned as context for lessons about the siege of the Alamo so that “teachers will spend less time on the analysis of the letter.” There are fewer than 250 words in that letter, but they go to the heart of what Texans think about themselves and about this state. Sometimes called the “Victory or Death” letter, it has been compared to Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade,” which immortalized a British battle in its defeat by Russians in the Crimean War.

    To the People of Texas and all Americans in the world: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna…The enemy has demanded a surrender…I have answered the demand with a cannon shot… I shall never surrender or retreat …

    — William B. Travis

The recommendations regarding the Alamo come as several committees work to streamline the standards that are at the heart of the state’s Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills test. They have been at this process for the better part of a year, said SBOE spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe. The state board does not control curriculum in Texas, but they do set the standards that are the foundation of the state’s curriculum. And, in this case, they are addressing complaints that the standards in a variety of courses are too long. So committees of educators and interested parties such as historians have been reviewing the standards with the goal of streamlining them. In the case of standards surrounding the teaching of the Texas revolution, including the Battle of Alamo, the committee estimates it will shave off 90 minutes of teaching time

RTWT

1) Abolish that blinking committee.

2) Send Texas Rangers to apprehend every current member of that committee and take them to the state border and there instruct them to leave Texas and tell them that there is a rope and a tree waiting for any and all of them if they ever come back.

15 May 2018

What I Show People When They Ask What Texas is Like

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02 Mar 2018

Happy Texas Independence Day!

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The American-Statesman offers 8 facts to celebrate the occasion.

WE CAN BECOME FIVE STATES

There’s no telling why the Lone Star State would want to give up on its most notable feature [being the second largest state], but who knows what will happen once Willie Nelson is no longer around to keep the rednecks and the hippies together. In the annexation of Texas by the U.S., it was agreed that Texas could divide and reform itself into as many as five states. …. There have been a few attempts to create a new state, but they didn’t get far.

RTWT

15 Jan 2018

The Progressives Are Coming For the Alamo!

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Clash America is warning us:

The plan to ‘reimagine’ the Alamo is well underway… and it’s a giant load of crap.

A plan to restore and ‘reimagine’ the Alamo been in the works for some years, and it’s not just a sprucing up of the place.

It’s a whole new ‘reimagined’ Alamo that won’t focus on the battle that the site is known for.

The Master Planner of the project, George Skarmeas, said, ‘We cannot single out one moment in time.’ …

The Master Plan includes items that cover 300 years of history but will focus on the diversity of cultures of the area. The plan includes being ‘inclusive’ by ‘telling all sides of the military story’.

People in Texas need to stop this.

06 Sep 2017

Houston Drive-By Shooting Goes Wrong For Criminals

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Liberty Info:

It was a scene right out of a Wild West movie where the hombres on horseback ride into a Texas border town in the dead of night and gallop down Main Street, firing indiscriminately.

However this was no movie and the horses these thugs were driving was a Nissan Altima and that fabled Main Street was Glenburnie Drive, in North Houston, Texas.

Miraculously the homeowner escaped uninjured; however what followed next would put Clint Eastwood to shame, within a matter of seconds after that awesome display of firepower, the homeowner reached for his own weapon that he apparently had at the ready and began immediately returning fire at the speeding auto, which swerved and hit a parked car.

Wounded the three thugs exited the vehicle and continued the pitched firefight on foot. The homeowner who is an avid marksman continued returning fire hitting all three, stopping them before they could reach his property.

One of the men was immediately killed at the scene, while the others were rushed to the hospital. A second shooter was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, while the third is in critical condition battling for his life.

According to news reporters, aside from being an excellent marksman the Texas homeowner is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and goes to the shooting range regularly and practices his skills with his AR-15, the weapon he usually has by his side when sitting on his porch late at night.

Police are investigating the shooting; however, it’s an obvious case of self-defense and another example of why our Second Amendment was created.

05 Sep 2017

So It’s Flooded… Not Going to Stop the Barbecue!

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21 Aug 2017

Don’t Mess With Texas!

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Phil Ryan, a Texas Police Office and Texas Police Academy Instructor, on Facebook, put up a posting quoting the State Penal Code which apparently authorizes the use of deadly force in the case of Criminal Mischief directed at the property of a third party during nighttime.

In other words, in Texas, if some ANTiFA or BLM activist were to be found vandalizing or defacing a Confederate Monument after dark, apparently any law-abiding, gun-toting Texican could intervene: BANG!

As a police officer and police academy instructor, I am posting this as a public service announcement.

In Texas, Criminal Mischief (Vandalism) is a crime. So, let’s say someone is defacing or destroying a monument or a statue, not that it happens, just a hypothetical. That would be Criminal Mischief under Texas Penal Code:

Sec. 28.03. CRIMINAL MISCHIEF.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:
(1) he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
(2) he intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or
(3) he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.

Texas Penal Code Chapter 9, which are the laws concerning the use of force and deadly force to protect yourself, someone else, your property, or someone else’s property (could be state, county or municipal property (the peoples). In Chapter 9 under defense of property it says:

Sec. 9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON’S PROPERTY.
A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or property and:
(1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible, movable property;

Chapter 9.41 states: PROTECTION OF ONE’S OWN PROPERTY.
(a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property (Criminal Mischief is unlawful interference with property).

Chapter 9.42 states: DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY.
A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime (Night time is 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise).

Bottom line, if someone is destroying a monument or statue that isn’t theirs, you can defend it by force during the day with deadly force at night.

Just a little tip, from your Uncle Phil…”

Personally, I like it. But, as you can imagine the bed-wetters and pillow-biters are having a cow over this one and screaming for the officer to be fired. Example

There is plenty about last Tuesday’s post on Facebook, but (for some mysterious reason) Phil Ryan‘s controversial post seems to have disappeared.

06 Mar 2017

Fall of the Alamo

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Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, Fall of the Alamo, 1903, Texas State Archives.

March 6, 1836: Following a thirteen-day siege, more than 2000 Mexican troops launched a pre-dawn attack from all four sides on the fortress defended by 180 men. The Mexicans were repulsed twice, but a third assault gained the north wall and broke through the west wall. After fierce fighting, the defenders were killed to a man. The casualties included Colonel William Barret Travis, James Bowie, and former Congressman from Tennessee David Crockett.

03 Feb 2017

Texas Family Found Rattlesnake in the Toilet, Later 23 More Under the House

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Big Country Snake Removal posted on January 30th on Facebook:

Last week we received a call from a family in Jones county who had an adult rattlesnake in their toilet. Yes, in their toilet! (The snake found its way in from an opening in a relief pipe that I later sealed)

This was the first snake that the family has seen on the property in several years…. When I arrived, I immediately noticed a few problematic areas. Intuition took me directly to a storm cellar where I safely removed 13 adult rattlesnakes. After a thorough perimeter check, I crawled underneath the house where I removed another 10, 5 being babies…. 24 snakes total, (including the toilet snake) and the family had no idea….

How is this possible? It’s actually quite simple; rattlesnake are secretive and can be very cryptic- They rely heavily on their camouflage. This is simply how they survive. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there….

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